In Turks and Caicos there are many places to explore in the area, and with Grand Turk being the capital island, this cruise ship destination is one that offers many excursions for cruise travelers. With warm and breezy tropical climates, turquoise waters, and plenty of palm trees, this island gives you a lot to look at. A cruise can offer the best way to explore the island and get to see all the best sights in one easy trip.
We will tell you all about the 15 most exciting things that you can plan on seeing and doing while on your Grand Turk cruise vacation.
However, here is some helpful information about the port for the cruise ship so you can know where the cruise ship will be docking and what you can expect when you get there.
Grand Turk Cruise Center Info
The cruise ships that come in the Grand Turk port dock at the Grand Turk Cruise Center. This area is a large cruise ship pier that allows for two cruise ships to dock there at the same time.
The pier/port area was built by Carnival Corporation so if you want to visit Grand Turk, you will need to sail on one of their cruise lines (Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Costa Cruises). View Prices on Cruises to Grand Turk
The port itself has a large space that consists of many restaurants, shops, and beaches, and offers its own amenities to its guests. Many places are within walking distance and most of the tours will offer pick-ups directly from the port. Some tours will only offer pick-ups if they are scheduled in advance, so you should make sure that your favorite choices are booked ahead of time.
There are shuttle services that will be available at the port and will take you to the beach or town excursions, but with many options being so close by, there are few reasons to need them. There are buses that will take you on a tour of the island, but they will pick you up at the port, so there is little need to go very far.
If you choose to rent golf carts, ATVs, or dune buggies, they are all available at different vendors that are near the cruise center so you can walk to them. Maps should be available at information kiosks if you need help finding your way to the vendor you’re looking for.
Here are some great things to do in Grand Turk while on a cruise to this beautiful port:
1. Grand Turk Wall Snorkeling
Adventuring into the shimmery waters of Turks and Caicos is a fantastic option for spending your time on this small island. The Grand Turk Wall is an extensive barrier reef that is made up of multiple coral formations. This amazing reef offers the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of various fish and underwater creatures that live nearby and to get a chance to see the 7,000 foot underwater wall itself.
This tour includes all snorkeling equipment with the ticket price and will last for approximately an hour. You will be able to take a shuttle to Governor’s Beach where you’ll be taken straight to the Grand Turk where you’ll be able to get your rental equipment and begin your snorkeling journey.
2. Humpback Whale Watching
It’s not every day that you’ll get to see a Humpback whale in its natural habitat, but with the Grand Turk whale watching tours, you’ll be able to do just that. With a tour on a ship guided by a captain who will stop near the local areas where these majestic creatures are known to swim, you will see some of the largest animals in all the sea.
These tours will last for about four hours and will take you out onto the crystal water to have a close look at humpback whales as they display tail slapping or beaching behaviors. During the trip when you are moving across empty water, your guide will teach you about the whale’s history and behaviors and give you the ability to get in the waters in shallow areas to snorkel too.
3. Historical Grand Turk Tour
This historical tour of Grand Turk island is a lovely way to spend a few hours learning about the history of the island with stops at the most famous sites. You will get to see the Old Town, Post Office, the famous Duke Street, the Space Capsule, and the lighthouse with an extra stop off at the beach if you’d like to spend your last few hours on land in the sand.
This tour takes around four hours to complete and will pick you up at the cruise center and drop you off either at the port or at a nearby beach. This trip can include a lunch meal as part of the tour if you choose to add that.
4. Beach Trip
Nearby the Grand Turk Cruise Center, there are a number of different beaches and tourist attractions that you can walk to. If you would like to spend a relaxing day at a beach that is within walking distance, then taking a short trip to the nearby Grand Turk Beach is the perfect way to spend your hours in Turks and Caicos.
The local beaches at the cruise center offer drinks on the sand, access to rental equipment, and short excursions that are available on the shore. Whether you’re wanting to lay on the white sand or take a snorkeling trip in the waters, you can do it all on the beach.
5. Stingray Swimming
Swimming in the waters at the beach can be great, but if you would like to get in the depths of the Caribbean, then swimming with the stingrays is a great choice for an excursion. These friendly creatures will swim right up to you and eat food from your hand or maneuver under your feet at the bottom of the ocean for a unique and incredible experience unlike any other.
This tour will take you to the middle of the water where you can have enough space to move around and swim with the stingrays so you get the full experience. While on the boat, your guide will teach you about the habits and background of their creatures so you’re able to feel comfortable and safe with these slippery undersea animals.
This Grand Turk staple is a restaurant and bar that you won’t want to pass up if you visit this island. The fun party atmosphere and local dishes make a great spot for locals and tourists alike, and as the name suggests, their margaritas are the best in town. With live entertainment, a swim-up bar, and outdoor seating, you’ll have a wonderful time just a short walk from the cruise center.
This restaurant is known for its amenities and the close proximity to the cruise center with less than a minute walk to get there. With dishes like jerk tacos and freshly caught calamari, you can get some of the freshest choices by the sea and have a signature drink while laying out by the large pool. If you choose to stay outside the whole time, you can food and drinks with full poolside service.
7. Segway Tour
Taking a different kind of tour is a specialty in Grand Turk, which offers an interesting way to see the island. With Segway’s available for rent on the island, you can hop on one and make your way around the area for a non-guided tour along the island’s paths.
These Segways are easy to ride and are motorized, which means that you don’t have to work hard to get them going. The slim frame allows you to make your way through narrow pathways and get around the town faster than walking would allow. These devices do have weight and height restrictions so you should call ahead for more information about these restrictions.
8. Dune Buggy Rentals
Want to explore the beautiful island of Grand Turk with a ride in a small dune buggy? You can’t get this experience in your hometown, so take advantage of the opportunity while in Turks and Caicos. These buggies are rentals that can be taken out for a ride across the island and will give you the ability to see the area in a whole new way.
The buggies can be rented out at the cruise center vendors and kept for a half or a whole day of exploring. The buggies sit two people in each vehicle and can be ridden on the beach or on the pavement for a fun and unique excursion that will get your blood pumping.
9. Culture and Food Tour
Are you ready for a day of tastings that will give you all the best flavors of Grand Turk? Then, the Culture and Food Tour is the right choice for you and your appetite. This tour will take three hours and takes you to three different stops along the way where you will get to try the local catches, dishes, and signature cocktails.
With three stops, you can get a different dish at each local eatery and try a new tropical drink. Along the trip, your tour guide will tell you about the history and culture of Grand Turk as you pass by historical buildings and sights. Plus, with pick up and drop off service offered, you will be able to leave right from the cruise center and be dropped off right back after the tour is done.
Heading into the crystal blue Caribbean waters can be great, but getting a chance to ride on the Flowrider is an experience you just can’t beat. The Grand Turk Flowrider is an attraction that lets you feel what it’s like to surf while being in a completely controlled environment. The water is sprayed toward you as you learn to get onto a board, or body surf, so you can catch some waves without the ocean.
The Flowrider offers tourists a way to test out their surfing skills without having to brave the uneven waves and uncontrollable environment of the sea while their family and friends get a front-row seat. Each member of your group can take a turn to ride the Flowrider before heading to the cruise center again for a fun time that you won’t forget.
11. Golf Cart Rentals
Not looking to spend your day eating or laying out on the beach, then rent one of Grand Turk golf carts and roam around the island on your own for a few hours of fun and exploration. These golf carts hold two people and come with room in the back for two more to ride backward, or room for your bags. Take these through town or onto the local trails to get a full look at the island.
Grand Turk has many trails and a lot of open lands to ride on, so you won’t have any trouble getting around. However, if you choose to go to places that are filled with people, you will want to make sure to slow down and watch out for travelers. Once you are done for the day, just return the carts to the vendor and you can be on your way.
12. National Museum
Gaining some knowledge while on vacation is a fun and unexpected way to spend your cruise. With the Grand Turk National Museum not far from the cruise center, you can take a quick trip there and learn about the history of Turks and Caicos dating all the way back to 1513.
This historical museum has two floors of artifacts and exhibits to look at and details the history of the island by offering a walk through the different time periods throughout its history. From old furniture and tools to animals and plant life that was prevalent at the time, you will get to see everything that was there during that period.
The museum is filled with interesting facts about the island and offers insight into the lives of those who lived there long ago. Tickets can be purchased aboard the ship, or at the door, and pickups can be scheduled at the cruise center.
13. Catamaran Tour
If you’re up for a midday party after some snorkeling, then the Catamaran Tour may be the best option for you. The catamaran will take you and your other guests along the blue waters and whisk you away to one of the many beaches of Grand Turk. The tour will stop off at a snorkeling spot where you’ll get to see some fish and corral, then it takes you to a private beach with an open bar and live music for some dancing.
The tour guides will have their special Rum Punch on board, so you can choose to start the party early, and with the open bar at the beach, you can have a few cocktails or beers and dance your cares away on the warm sand. The snorkeling equipment is included in the ticket prices and the tour will end by dropping you off at the cruise center.
14. ATV Tour
Want to take a trip off the main road and head into the dirt paths along the island? Then renting an ATV for an island tour is the way to go. With thirty minutes of safety instructions before you drive off by yourself, you and your group will feel fully prepared to ride off into the dirt roads to explore. The instructors will also teach the proper hand signals for when you’re on the road with others.
Don’t worry if you haven’t ridden an ATV before, because you will have training and practice in an open parking lot before you drive off with your group so even beginners can rent these vehicles. Your tour guides can lead you around the island on your ATV and show you the best places to ride so you get to have the time of your life in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
15. Scuba Diving
Searching for a classic cruise excursion that the whole family will enjoy? Look no further than scuba diving lessons. While in some of the clearest waters around, you’ll be able to take advantage of the underwater clarity and get an up-close look at the various sea animals and coral reefs that are under the surface. You will be able to look at tropical fish, bright coral, and sea turtles in the water as you swim around.
This excursion begins at the cruise center and takes you on a short boat ride into deeper waters for the best diving experience. Once you are out at sea, you’ll have a guide to help you get your equipment set up and ensure that everything is working properly. Then, you’ll be able to step off the boat and take a look at all that the ocean has to offer.
With many different sea creatures in these waters, even if you have done this excursion before, you will have a unique experience each time you dive. The excursion will usually last around two hours, and with the boat ride being only a few minutes from the docks to the diving spot, this is a great option for those who may get seasick on longer boat trips.
This guest post was written by Justin Stewart.
Have you been to Grand Turk before? What shore excursion or activity did you enjoy? Let us know in the comments below so we can all benefit.